Alaafin Orompoto can be considered the first African transgender monarch, as she had to prove to the council chiefs that she was a male to defend her father’s throne
Orompoto was a foremost Alaafin of Oyo who ruled the Kingdom between 1554 to 1562
Princess Orompote’s ascension to the throne was tough, and her reign was a revolution in the Yoruba cultural history
Oyo town, Oyo – The political landscape of the African space has been described as a patriarchal domain, not giving the female the space to breathe, but a careful analysis has shown that the women who chose to compete often perform better and outsmart the majority of the males in the race.
One of such women was Alaafin Orompoto, a foremost female ruler of the Oyo Empire who ruled the kingdom between 1554 to 1562.
Who is Princess Orompoto of the Oyo Empire?
Orompoto or Orompotoniyun, as she was known in history, was Alaafin Ofinran’s daughter and Alaafin Onigbogi’s granddaughter, who had earlier ruled the kingdom and transformed her gender from woman to man to prove her worth and competence for the throne.
Following her father’s death, her elder brother, Prince Eguguoju, was crowned the king but died young without a male child to succeed him.
Orompoto younger brothers, Princes Ajiboyede and Tella, were too young to ascend the throne, and therefore, the kingship was going to leave their family.
She decided to assume the throne, and her decision did not sit well with the council of chiefs because a woman had never become king of the kingdom.
Orompoto was also smarter and a step ahead of the chiefs and elders as they even began to plan to install another king for the kingdom. She insisted she was the only link to the throne and should be installed as the king.
Why Princess Orompoto changes her gender from male to female
The princess summoned the chiefs to know when she would be installed as the new king, but her request was again rejected. She was then challenged to prove she was a male in the next seven days at the palace, a plot they thought would shame her.
After the meeting, Princess Orompoto began to wear male clothes, and on the seventh day, she mounted the podium and removed her cap to show her low-cut hair. She further showed them her chest, but the council was not impressed.
According to oral tradition, she removed her trousers, and the council did not only see her with a penis but a dropping scrotum sack with two scrotum dangling balls in the sack. The elders and council then had no choice but to prostrate for her and enthrone her as the kingdom’s ruler.
She was reported to have a master horseback skill and a specialised order of cavalry officers in her army; they were subject to Eso Ikoyi.